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NFL DFS First Look: Week 12 Thanksgiving Day DraftKings & FanDuel Picks

Matt Gajewski

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NFL DFS Picks DraftKings FanDuel Thanksgiving Day Lineup optimizer optimal today tonight 2021 free expert advice tips strategy ownership projections rankings Cowboys Bears Lions Saints Bills Raiders daily fantasy football Ezekiel Elliott

The NFL kicks off Week 12 with a three-game Thanksgiving Day DFS slate on DraftKings and FanDuel. This piece will examine the NFL DFS slate early in the week to find potential NFL DFS picks that will return the most value. Based on the salaries released by both DraftKings and FanDuel, we will go over some of the best Week 12 NFL DFS picks, but keep an eye on the news as the week progresses. A value play early in the week could turn into a bust chalk play due to injury or COVID-related illness. The best way to stay plugged in for all the news and notes throughout the week is by catching all the Awesemo NFL DFS Strategy and Picks shows on the Awesemo YouTube Channel.

NFL First Look: Week 12 Thanksgiving Day NFL DFS Picks

Quarterbacks

Josh Allen , BUF vs. NO ($7,800 DraftKings, $8,800 FanDuel)

Despite a poor performance against the Colts in Week 11, Allen is far and away the best quarterback on the Thanksgiving slate. Allen currently averages 281.1 yards passing and over two touchdowns per game. He has an elite ceiling, with four games over 300 yards passing, in addition to his solid rushing floor. Allen draws a sneaky matchup here as well. The Saints allow 7.2 yards per pass attempt, which ranks 25th in the NFL. With the Bills favored by 4.5 points in a game with a 46.5-point total, Buffalo still has the second-highest implied team total on the board. Allen is one of only two quarterbacks on this slate that normally starts and has a full stable of healthy pass catchers.

Derek Carr, LV vs. DAL ($5,900 DraftKings, $7,400 FanDuel)

Dak Prescott is the second-best quarterback talent-wise, but he does not have the luxury of playing with Amari Cooper or CeeDee Lamb in this game. On the other side, Carr is still intriguing as a 7-point underdog in a game with a 50-point total. Carr has been surprisingly efficient this year, averaging 304.1 yards passing per game. Dallas has one of the top cornerbacks in the league in Trevon Diggs, but their defense still allows 7.1 yards per pass attempt, which ranks 21st. On top of a solid floor, Carr has shown a ceiling from a passing perspective, with five games above 300 yards passing this year. For those looking at a safe, cheaper quarterback option, Carr makes sense.

Justin Fields, CHI vs. DET ($5,400 DraftKings, $7,200 FanDuel)

While Fields left Week 11 with a rib injury, initial tests revealed no structural damage. If healthy, Fields draws a dream matchup against the Lions on Thanksgiving. The Lions allow 7.8 yard per pass attempt, which ranks 31st in the NFL. On top of his excellent mobility, Fields had shown improvement as a passer in recent weeks. Fields threw for 291 yards in Week 9 against the Steelers and completed at least 69% of his passes in the two weeks prior. Fields also had at least 38 yards rushing in four straight games before the injury forced him from Week 11. If Fields misses this game, Andy Dalton ($5,500) would become an interesting matchup-based option at a similar price point.

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Running Backs

Alvin Kamara, BUF vs. NO ($7,800 DraftKings, $9,000 FanDuel)

Like at quarterback, the running back position on Thanksgiving comes with equally impactful injuries. Kamara’s status remains unknown after missing the last two weeks. Kamara returned to a limited practice on Wednesday last week and subsequently missed the latter two practices. If he misses, Mark Ingram would become an excellent option. New Orleans is a slight underdog to Buffalo, but Ingram has played a massive role in Kamara’s absence. Even with Tony Jones coming off injured reserve last week, Ingram played 72% of the snaps and handled eight targets in the pass game.

Ezekiel Elliott, LV vs. DAL ($8,000 DraftKings, $8,400 FanDuel)

If Kamara misses Thanksgiving, Elliott would become the top back on the slate. Elliott briefly left Dallas’ Week 11 game but suggested the injury would not prevent him from playing on Thanksgiving. When healthy, Elliott functions as Dallas’ feature back despite the efficiency of Tony Pollard behind him. Las Vegas allows 4.5 yards per rushing attempt, which ranks 24th in the NFL. Elliott should also benefit from positive game script and a lack of options in the pass game. If Elliott misses this game, Pollard becomes the best play on the entire slate.

David Montgomery, CHI vs. DET ($6,000 DraftKings, $7,500 FanDuel)

Even with Lamar Jackson missing Week 11, Chicago could not handle Baltimore. Playing largely with negative game script, Montgomery only handled 14 carries and one target in Chicago’s loss. Fortunately, Montgomery received 15 of 16 backfield touches and looks fully over the mid-season injury. This week Montgomery draws a far more favorable matchup as a 4-point favorite over Detroit. Detroit allows 4.4 yards per rush attempt, which ranks 22nd in the NFL. Montgomery is a cheaper bell-cow back in a positive matchup.

Matt Breida, BUF vs, NO ($4,800 DraftKings, $5,300 FanDuel)

Those looking at GPP backs, Matt Breida appears to have worked ahead of Zack Moss and Devin Singletary in Buffalo’s backfield. This is still a time share without a doubt. Breida handled five carries, while Singletary and Moss each had three. However, Breida received the only red-zone attempt and produced a hyper-efficient 51 yards on his carries. Singletary still out-targeted Breida 4-2, but this could move further in Breida’s direction after his strong performance. With Buffalo working as 4.5-point favorites, Breida makes sense in large-field tournaments.

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Wide Receivers

Stefon Diggs, BUF vs. NO ($7,900 DraftKings, $8,300 FanDuel)

Without Cooper and Lamb on the slate, Diggs is the only alpha on the Thanksgiving slate. On the year Diggs has a 24.7% target share and 32.6% air yards share in Buffalo’s offense. He only has a pair of 100-yard games this year, but Diggs has now scored in four of Buffalo’s last five games. Without other viable options at receive, Diggs looks like a priority based purely on injury attrition. Behind Diggs, Cole Beasley recently took a step back with the return of Dawson Knox. Likewise, Emmanuel Sanders has been nothing more than a situational complement to Diggs. Diggs is the only viable stud receiver on the slate.

Hunter Renfrow, LV vs. Dallas ($5,600 DraftKings, $6,200 FanDuel)

Receiver is a disaster on the Thanksgiving slate, but Renfrow has been wildly consistent this year. Renfrow averages 7.3 target per game. However, he has never been above nine targets and never below four. He has also never reached 80 yards this year, giving him a solid floor and a poor ceiling. At this point he is a mid-priced attachment to the best game on the slate, and that is more than can be said about virtually any other receiver on this slate outside of Buffalo.

Marquise Goodwin, CHI vs. DET ($3,800, $5,400 FanDuel)

Allen Robinson is unlikely to make his return this weekend, thrusting Darnell Mooney into Chicago’s WR1 role. Behind Mooney, career journeyman Marquise Goodwin stepped into the WR2 role. Opponents can beat Detroit virtually any way they choose. With the Lions allowing 7.8 yards per pass attempt (31st), through the air seems like a viable plan. Without Robinson last week, Goodwin played 71% of the snaps and saw eight targets. Mooney still operated as the clear alpha, with 16 targets. However, Mooney is far more expensive at $5,700. Either way, both Chicago receivers are viable in this premier matchup against Detroit.

Cedrick Wilson, LV vs. DAL ($3,500 DraftKings, $5,600 FanDuel)

Without Cooper and Lamb, Michael Gallup received a price bump to $5,900. However, WR4 Wilson remains priced at $3,500. Now operating as the WR2, Wilson played 62% of the snaps for Dallas while receiving seven targets in Week 11. Wilson was horribly inefficient, with just 36 yards receiving, but his role should remain consistent here. Wilson still provides a cheap attachment to the highest implied team total on the slate, making him a solid punt option for Dallas.


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Tight Ends

Darren Waller, LV vs. DAL ($6,400 DraftKings, $7,300 FanDuel)

Unlike all of the other positions, tight end is a position of strength on the Thanksgiving slate. After the worst game of his season in Week 10, Waller rebounded with for seven catches and 116 yards against Cincinnati in Week 11. Due to the lack of viable receivers, Waller looks like the second-best pass catcher on the entire slate. On the year, Waller boasts a 24.3% target share and a 26.9% air yards share in Las Vegas. Dallas ranks outside the top 20 pass defenses, and this remains the top game environment on the slate.

Dalton Schultz, LV vs. DAL (5,300 DraftKings, $6,000 FanDuel)

With such a weak crop of receivers, targeting two tight ends looks more viable than previous slate. Typically a contrarian approach, two tight end builds may also provide leverage on the Thanksgiving slate. Already playing a solid role in Dallas, Schultz could further benefit from the absence of Lamb and Gallup. With Blake Jarwin on injured reserve, Schultz had already worked his way into a full-time role. Schultz has at least six targets in six of his last eight games and should remain a focal point in the passing attack for the team with the highest implied team total on the slate.

Dawson Knox, BUF vs. NO ($4,400 DraftKings, $5,900 FanDuel)

After catching his only target in his return from injury in Week 10, Knox regained his early season form in Week 11. Knox reeled in six of 10 targets for 80 yards against the Colts in Week 11 and played on 98% of the team’s offensive snaps. Often lining up in the slot, Knox will be used all over the formation in Buffalo. While Knox is not likely to lead the team in targets again on Thanksgiving, he still plays a consistent role in this Buffalo offense. Again, Knox is viable in Buffalo stacks and can be used in two tight end builds as well.


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View our DraftKings DFS NFL ownership rankings and our FanDuel DFS NFL rankings. If you’re interested in other DFS NFL football for multiple game slates, head over to DFS NFL projected ownership, Awesemo's NFL Data Central, NFL daily fantasy football rankings, and NFL DFS stacks. We also have DraftKings showdown projections and NFL single-game ownership projections. Take a look at our NFL depth chart list, NFL line-ups and inactives.

Matt Gajewski graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in Economics. Matt has worked in the fantasy industry for the past four years, focusing on DFS and Sports Betting. Matt specializes in NFL, College Football, College Basketball, XFL, and MMA. With GPP victories across the major sports, Matt also qualified for the DraftKings 2020 Sports Betting Championship and won a seat to the College Basketball Tourney Mania final.

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